After a lapse of over a year and a half, a new case of poliovirus has been confirmed in Karachi.
The seven-month-old baby, who has been confirmed to have contracted the poliovirus, is said to be a refusal case and is the first case since January 2016.
Officials at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Polio in Sindh expressed deep sorrow and disappointment on the first case of polio that has been reported in the metropolis in the last one and a half year.
“It is heart breaking that this child has contracted polio, his family used to refuse the polio vaccine and we were only able to vaccinate this child on one occasion. If he had been vaccinated on multiple occasions he would not have had to suffer the scourge of polio. We have repeatedly been asking parents to come forward to vaccinate their children,” Coordinator EOC Sindh Dr Fayaz Jatoi said on Thursday.
He hoped that parents will learn from this and not compromise on their child’s health.
“We appeal parents to protect the future of their children,” he reiterated.
According to details the family of the seven-month-old Qasim, son of Mohammad Ghani hails from Tora Bora, Afghanistan. They settled in Madina Colony situated in UC 13 Gulshan-e-Iqbal.
Karachi, formerly known as the largest reservoir of polio in the world, has made huge progress in polio eradication.
Just three years ago the city reported 23 polio cases and the EOC has been able to contain the outbreak by applying innovative strategies such as hiring educated local female workers. The strategies have been acclaimed by the international community and have brought the city on the brink of polio eradication.
Disclosing details of the polio case Jatoi said: “We have repeatedly warned that despite the progress made we have still not reached the finish line, our workers must keep up their efforts and community needs to understand that they must vaccinate their children during every campaign until they are five years of age. It is only then that we can get rid of this virus and until we get rid of it completely, it will attack children with low immunity.”
Karachi has a target population of 2.3 million children less than five years of age which is larger than the total population of many cities in the world. “We are planning a vigorous case response and are involving elders of Madina Colony to further sensitise the community. Given Karachi’s positive environmental samples we are in a challenging situation but we can contain the spread of the virus,” he added.
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